Devotees think of God as a father, friend or a sweetheart and compose their verses in praise of Him, according to their mood. Just as they think of Him from different angles and as everything, they also have different ways of serving Him.
The Saivite saints — Thirunavukkarasar, Sundarar, Sambandar and Manickavachagar — served Lord Siva in their own way. Thirunavukkarasar rendered service in temples. Sundarar’s service was through yoga. Sambandar served by praising Lord Siva. Manickavachagar served through his excessive devotion.
Thayumanavar, through one of his verses, expresses his desire to serve Lord Siva too, in the tradition of earlier Saivite saints. One way to serve the Lord is to offer flowers for worship. There are many rules about how to pluck flowers, and what flowers to offer, D. Gnanasundaram said in a discourse.
It is said one should pluck flowers early in the morning, for at that time they would be opening their petals. The reason for such a rule was because it was felt that the flowers should be fresh, and should not have been sucked at by bees. The Lord will accept whatever flowers we offer Him, because of His kindness. But is it right to take advantage of His kindness?
God’s kindness was explained beautifully by Vaishnavite acharya Parasara Bhattar to Nanjeeyar. The latter wondered how Bhattar could say any flower was acceptable to Lord Narayana, when he had said earlier that there was a particular flower that was not acceptable. Bhattar explained the reason for what he had said. The plant that bore the forbidden flower had thorns. The Lord would be unhappy if a thorn pricked the fingers of His devotees, while they plucked flowers for Him. Hence, the flower from a thorny plant was unacceptable to Him. So the injunction against the flower was not because the Lord was demanding, but because of His concern for His devotees.
When the Lord shows us such kindness and love, should we not reciprocate by taking some trouble to find fresh flowers for Him? When we have time for a lot of other things, can’t we spare time for such a worthy cause?